Ron Mahdi

Associate Professor

"A great ensemble player comes from different angles. You have several options of doing things so you don’t get bored and so others don’t get bored with your response to what’s coming at you. It’s like saying the same thing over and over when you’re having a conversation. It would be nice to say something different. That’s what it boils down to. Everyone’s got their own ethnic identity. So bring those spices and put them in the soup—not to overpower the soup, but something that, when someone hears it, they can taste the oregano or the hot sauce and say, ‘Yeah, that’s in there.'"

"Art Blakey said, ‘Before you go so far out there, play something to bring the audience with you.’ I’ve added ‘play for the dancers’ to that. It doesn't always have to be for people out on the dance floor—it could be someone in their seat, moving, having a good time."

"A seasoned musician can play something fast, and a younger player would not actually realize just how complicated that particular thing is. You don’t get the sensation of traveling that fast until you’ve actually tried to do what they just did. They just make it seem easy—that’s the secret of someone who’s really a pro."

Career Highlights

 

  • B.M., Berklee College of Music
  • Performances with Chet Baker, Art Farmer, Milt Jackson, Donald Brown, Kevin Eubanks, Jeff Watts, and Bill Pierce
  • International and national tours with Roy Haynes, Dr. Donald Byrd, Nnenna Freelon, and Teodross Avery
  • Extensive recording experience for radio and television
  • Active clinician